Nfld. & Labrador

RNC vs. RNC: Newfoundland police force flooded with online comments about Donald Trump

Due to a coincidental acronym affinity, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has been seeing a lot of messages meant for the Republican National Committee.

'The big guy's never actually tweeted to us directly,' says Const. Geoff Higdon

The man behind the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary's twitter account has been spending a lot of time responding to comments about Donald Trump. (CBC)

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary really wants it to be known: It is a Canadian police service in Newfoundland and Labrador, with no U.S. political affiliations.

It's a message the force has been sending a lot, especially this week since the launch of the Republican convention in Ohio.

Due to an acronym similarity, the RNC in Canada has been getting dozens of Twitter messages meant for the Republican National Committee in the United States. 

The mixups started about two years ago, according to RNC Const. Geoff Higdon, who looks after the Constabulary's Twitter account.

But since the convention kicked off in Cleveland on Monday, the trickle of tweets has turned into a torrent.

"We see our news feed and our notifications just completely jammed with mentions to us regarding either love or hatred toward Donald Trump," said Higdon.

Twitter handle confusion

Part of the issue is that the Republican Party, and its committee, don't operate on Twitter under @RNC. They're using @GOP.

The confusion may come from the auto-fill prompt on Twitter. 

According to Higdon, the police force's Twitter account is the first to pop up for many users who want to send a message to the Republicans, and that leads to some interesting interactions.

"During the first day of the convention — it was really funny — there was a video shared of a bunch of police officers, I'm assuming Cleveland police officers, who were on bicycle duty," he said.

"People tweeted to us, thanking us for keeping the convention safe … it is comical — there's not really much you can do."

'Getting a lot of flack'

He said the Constabulary has also been taking the heat for some recent American political controversies.

"We've been getting a lot of flack for allowing Donald Trump's wife to use parts from Mrs. Obama's speech. We're blamed for that one today," said Higdon, referring to accusations of plagiarism levied against Melania Trump, whose speech bore heavy similarities to a speech Michelle Obama delivered eight years ago. 

"We got dragged into the whole open carry laws in the U.S. there for a few days." 

The Constabulary added the phrasing "(Police)" to its Twitter profile a few months ago, but that has not deterred many commentators from getting in touch. 

Despite the thousands of Twitter notifications, and a few vulgar tweets, Higdon said those responding to the police department have been overwhelmingly positive. 

He said the police force were aware of the other RNC when they chose their Twitter handle, but thought the police might have history on their side.

"We figured, 'Hey, we've been here since 1729, maybe we've beaten everybody to it,'" he said.

No solutions

The search for solutions has proven elusive, too.

Higdon said "Royal Newfoundland Constabulary" is too long for the character limits in Twitter's username field, and the force has been unable to reach Twitter for direct help.

He said the force isn't interested in a tweet straight from Donald Trump, however.

"The big guy's never actually tweeted to us directly. With 10 million followers, I can't imagine that would help the problem," Higdon said.

"We're not looking for a tweet from The Donald. We're good."